Ideas. Stories. Community.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Life Isn't Hard for Bessie White and Velma Hollen of Pleasant View... "It's Just the Way It Is"

Regulars at the Cortez Farmers Market have likely bought produce from Bessie White and her sister Velma Hollen, longtime residents of the Pleasant View area. They have sold produce with their daughters and nieces since the 1970s, when they started the first Cortez Farmers Market. But they have lived in the area since 1934, when their parents brought their family to the region from Canada (where they had escaped the Dust Bowl). KSJD’s Austin Cope visited them at Bessie’s house near Pleasant View to learn more about who they are, and some of their memories from early life in the region. Click below to listen to their interview.



They also spoke about starting the first Cortez Farmers’ Market, along with some of their opinions about how the market has been run over the years. Click below to listen.



Interview with Bessie White and Velma Hollen on Cortez Farmers Market History


Finally, Velma explained how she sews potholders and aprons from Blue Bird Flour sacks, and they spoke about what they remember about the Cortez Milling Company. Click the button below the photo to listen. 



Credit Austin Cope
Velma Hollen says she made 20 Blue Bird Flour sack aprons to sell at the market, but she ended up selling one hundred.

Interview with Velma Hollen on Blue Bird Flour

Both Velma and Bessie say that as they look back on their life, they would do very few things over. The most important parts of life are to keep busy and to learn from your mistakes, they agree. And they both hope to be back at the Cortez Farmers Market next season.

Austin Cope is a former Morning Edition host for KSJD and now produces work on a freelance basis for the station. He grew up in Cortez and hosted a show on KSJD when he was 10 years old. After graduating from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2010, he lived in Belgium, Ohio, Spain, northern Wyoming, and Himachal Pradesh, India before returning to the Cortez area. He has a degree in Politics from Oberlin College in Ohio.
Related Content